Without doubt, hard work and resilience gets you places in racing.
If you keep your head down and continually strive for your best then eventually the big day will arrive and, for Jack Sherwood, his big moment was incredibly sweet when winning the Grade 2 bet365 Hurdle aboard his great friend Silsol at the weekend.
Jack had his first ride for Paul three years ago aboard Silsol and since then the combination has endured plenty of trials and tribulations with ups and downs a plenty. Saying that however, both have shared one common thread throughout those years; that being even when they have fallen short on their targets they have always been giving their all. As I roared Silsol home from the Ascot parade ring I did so knowing how much it would mean to Jack for many reasons, so well done Jack, good for you.
It is great when horse and rider come together to make a special team, and season upon season Jack and Silsol is a combination everyone in the yard gives their whole hearted support to.
Dan and Michelle MacDonald, relatively new owners to our yard, have very quickly become great friends of us here at Manor Farm Stables so Silsol was a truly great result for everyone involved.
Cliffs Of Dover continues to chalk up the successes
Talking of horses with admirable attitudes, I’m not sure I can remember watching a horse in a very long time that enjoys his races as much as Cliffs Of Dover.
He has now won four races in two weeks and five in total since he joined us in the height of the summer. In truth, he seems to be thriving with every day that goes by and I was full of confidence he would win having watched him charge around our school the day before Wetherby. I love it when one of our horses creates a following and reading the tweets about Cliffs after yet another stunning performance it seems he’s attracting quite the fan club. I guess people love a horse that goes out there and tries his best on a regular basis and Cliffs is exactly that. A hard working, genuine, slick-jumping happy racehorse, he is a true star of our yard.
On a personal level I guess you’re starting to get the impression I don’t have too many bad weeks in this new job of mine and you’d be right.
This week was no different with a good few highlights to choose from and among them was a racecourse gallop on our main man Silviniaco Conti at Chepstow alongside Ptit Zig, a great piece of work on Dodging Bullets and watching by far the most exciting schooling session of our season so far.
The ginger assassin strikes again
However, this week’s true highlight came courtesy of our new bumper hero Stan Sheppard, winning on the hugely-promising Coup De Pinceau at Ascot.
With some time to think about it since, I’ve come to the conclusion that Stan and Coup were always going to be a match made in heaven and I’ll explain my theory. Stan has a resting heartbeat of around three beats per minute and he often describes his state of disappointment at a lack of time to sleep. He is a great friend to have though as he still wouldn’t flap even if his orange-tinged backside was on fire.
Why is that relevant you might ask? Well, Coup De Pinceau is just the same, he spends his day lying down flat out, wandering through his training regime on the gallops showing as much as one of the hundreds of local cows.
But come the day in front of a big crowd at one of the most spectacular sporting venues in the world (Ascot), both of their temperaments shine through, allowing them to ignore all the excitement of a day in awesome surroundings to get on with their business.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Ascot on Saturday with top-class racing to savour throughout the day and it was brilliant to see my old friend Saphir Du Rheu run such a good race on his seasonal reappearance. Nick was thrilled with the way he jumped and felt that a positive run like that could kick-start a nice season for him. I hope so anyway as he’s a horse I’m fond of and I’m sure he has a nice race in him over fences.
Busy weekend sees stars despatched to all parts
We now look forward to what is historically one of our most manic weekends of the season, with horses running in Ireland, France and here at domestic meetings. There are some huge races to look forward to and for us that means unleashing some of our biggest stars.
Ptit Zig goes to Auteuil accompanied by crack juvenile Dolos, while Silvinaco Conti and Le Mercurey cross the Irish Sea to visit Down Royal. Add entries for Zubayr and Aux Ptits Soins at Wincanton and you will understand I’m relishing this weekend.
However, for me nothing is more exciting than the return of my friend Dodging Bullets who goes to the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday. He is in good form and looks fantastic ahead of his seasonal reappearance so we are optimistic he will post a good performance.
Invest wisely, but keep it to yourself
That is just about a wrap for this week, but I’ll leave you with a name to follow and that name is Secret Investor, the winner of an Irish point-to-point in May and a four-year-old who is doing everything nicely.
He’s not even close to the finished article yet, but he stands over plenty of ground, jumps nicely and has a great attitude towards his work. Paul doesn’t have grand plans for him or an immediate target, but he is a young name to watch out for over the next few years.
No doubt the biggest part of his career will be over fences but I’m excited to see him on a racecourse before too long in a novice hurdle.
Wishing you all a good week.